Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kassams And The Beltway Sniper

David Bogner of Treppenwitz has an article on Pajamas Media where he makes a novel comparison that helps put the lie to those who play down the constant bombing of Sderot. While examining how the media underplays the context of events, he notes that
Yet other times the media tries to give too much context, with the result that it tends to skew the perceptions of those following the news.

For example, Qassam (alternately spelled Kassam) rockets are frequently described as ‘homemade’, ‘inaccurate’ and ‘primitive’ in an attempt to downplay the danger they pose to Israeli civilian population centers near Gaza. They are described as being ‘only’ about as big around as the pole holding a typical stop sign, ‘only’ capable of traveling about 7 or 8 miles, and ‘only’ carrying about 20 pounds of payload (e.g. explosives and ball bearings). That doesn’t sound so bad!

Yet who doesn’t remember how in October of 2002 the when the ‘Beltway Sniper‘ (actually two men working together), managed to paralyze the entire eastern seaboard of the US from Virginia to Delaware with a single rifle that had an effective range of a few hundred yards, and capable of firing a projectile smaller than a pencil eraser. At the time everyone knew that statistically the odds of being shot were roughly the same as hitting the PowerBall numbers. But nobody was poo-pooing the seriousness of the threat or downplaying the fears of those who couldn’t bring themselves to venture onto the street.

Context can mean everything.
Read the whole thing.

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